Huntsman in talks to be No. 2 at State: report

Huntsman in talks to be No. 2 at State: report
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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) has entered discussions about becoming the State Department’s second-highest official, according to a new report

Huntsman emerged as a contender before a scheduled Monday-afternoon meeting between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Wall Street Journal said.

U.S. officials told the Journal that a decision on the deputy secretary of State role remains unfinished and that other candidates besides Huntsman may be under consideration.


Huntsman, who served as former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina National Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo MORE’s ambassador to China, did not immediately return a request for comment to the newspaper.

Reports emerged earlier this month that Trump rejected a candidate for deputy secretary of State who had criticized him during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump purportedly nixed Elliott Abrams despite the fact that Tillerson, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Jared Kushner all supported him for the role.

“This is a loss for the State Department and the country and, for that, matter, the president,” one GOP source told CNN Feb. 10.

Abrams, who worked under former Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, sharply critiqued Trump during a Weekly Standard op-ed last year.

“The party has nominated someone who cannot win and should not be the president of the United States,” he wrote of the GOP in the May 16, 2016 article.

Huntsman, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, was allegedly in the mix to be secretary of State before the post ultimately went to Tillerson.

The former Utah governor endorsed Trump’s presidential bid last September, only to call for an end to his campaign the following month.

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor [Mike] Pence [R-Ind.] to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune on Oct. 07, 2016, referencing Trump’s running mate and the future vice president.

Huntsman’s remarks followed the appearance of a 2005 audio recording that captured Trump making lewd, sexually aggressive remarks about assaulting women that month.